My time with the original Evil Within was fun, but often felt like I was playing a “best of” survival horror game. The game got a lot of things right but overall didn’t capture the heart and soul of what I enjoy about the genre. The controls were clunky, the dialogue was flat and overall it never felt like a fully fleshed out world. I was cautiously optimistic about checking out The Evil Within 2, and I am happy to report not only is this a great survival horror game, it’s one of my top 5 games of 2017. The dialog is still pretty bad though.

Within the opening moments of The Evil Within 2 you are thrown into a world where the laws of reality no longer apply. You return as Sebastian Castellanos who is haunted by the events of the first game. He is approached by an organization known as Mobius to retrieve his daughter, Lily, who was presumed dead. They reveal that she is, in fact, alive, and being used as the core in a shared reality project called STEM and she has gone missing. Mobius agents were sent in after her but all contact with them has been lost as well. This premise of basically being in the horror equivalent of The Matrix is somewhat ridiculous but it works very well for an effective setting. Most of the game takes place in a twisted town called Union that exists within STEM. It is full of horrific monsters and the bodies of the former residents. The unpredictable, surreal nature of Union keeps you guessing right up until the final moments and it all mostly works.

Like its predecessor this is a third person survival horror game, but this time it breaks up the linear scares with a semi open world. Sneaking around the town of Union is an absolute blast. Searching for crafting supplies and weapon parts added a new layer to the typical survival horror layout. The addition of side quests and the return of the skill progression system made me want to spend a lot more time exploring within the game than I expected. The constant encounters with the monsters of Union make exploring the town difficult but in the end it all feels very rewarding. I wasn’t overly impressed with the generic zombie baddies that take up most of the early game but the insane bosses and later enemies more than made up for that. Overall the elements of The Evil Within 2 feel familiar but are encountered at such a break-neck pace that it never gets stale. This game masterfully crafts moments that feel like you only escaped by the skin of your teeth.

Throughout my first 15 hour playthrough I experienced some minor glitches and clunky camera angles but overall nothing major. I played this game on the PS4 Pro and it crashed on me twice. It was super disappointing, but wasn’t a frequent problem. The game graphically looks great and is solid on a technical level. Little things bothered me like the awkward way Sebastian walks and crouches but navigation and aiming feels very satisfying and effective.

After playing The Evil Within 2 I truly feel like this series has solidified its place in the survival horror genre. There are quite a few recycled elements from other franchises but overall it still manages to be captivating and horrific. The story is ridiculous and cliché at times but it throws enough curveballs at you to keep it interesting. Even if you weren’t a huge fan of the first game I suggest giving this one a chance. I was hesitant to pick this one up but I am glad that I did. This has become a game that I will eagerly revisit many times in the future. I give this tremendous union of survival and horror an 8 out of 10 on the Bloody Blu Gaming Scale. – The Gamer Ghoul